Rick Debe Insurance Agency - DBI Insurance Services
(262) 363-8650
Office Hours: M - Th 8:30 - 5:30 Friday 8:30 - 3:00

We've listed all the relevant insurance terminology we could think of...and then some!  If you don't find what you're looking for, just send us an email with your question and we'll get right back to you with the answer!


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C-Share Variable Annuities

A form of variable annuity contract where the contract holder pays no sales up front or surrender charges.  Owners can claim full liquidity at any time.


Termination of an insurance policy or bond by an insurance company or a policyholder before its expiration date.


A compensation plan used in some health maintenance organizations (HMOs) in which a physician is paid a flat amount per year per subscriber who elected to use that physician. For that amount, the physician must treat the subscriber as often as necessary during that year. Physicians are not reimbursed for services that exceed the allotted amount.

Captive agent 

An agent who sells insurance for only one company, as opposed to an independent agent who represents several companies.


Insurers that are created and wholly-owned by one or more non-insurers, to provide owners with coverage. It is a form of self-insurance.

Care Coordination 

Services provided by a licensed or certified health care professional designated by the insurance company to perform an assessment and develop a plan to meet your long-term care needs.

Caregiver Training 

Training provided in order to assist an informal and unpaid caregiver to care for you at home.


An insurance company that actually underwrites and issues the insurance policy. The term is used because the insurance company assumes or carries the risk for policy-owners.

Case Management

A process by which an enrollee with a serious, complicated, or chronic health condition is identified by a managed care organization and a plan of treatment is established in order to achieve optimum health in a cost-effective manner.

Cash Value

In a life insurance policy, the amount of money, before adjustment for factors such as policy loans or late premiums, that the policy owner will receive if the policy owner allows the policy to lapse or cancels the coverage and surrenders the policy to the insurance company. Cash values are a feature of most types of permanent life insurance, such as whole life and universal life.


Term used for statistical recording purposes to refer to a single incident or a series of closely related incidents causing severe insured property losses totaling more than a given amount, currently $25 million.

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Catastrophe Bonds

Risk-based securities that pay high interest rates and provide insurance companies with a form of reinsurance to pay losses from a catastrophe such as those caused by a major hurricane. They allow insurance risk to be sold to institutional investors in the form of bonds, thus spreading the risk.

Catastrophe Deductible

A percentage or dollar amount that a homeowner must pay before the insurance policy kicks in when a major natural disaster occurs. These large deductibles limit an insurer's potential losses in such cases, allowing it to insure more property.

Catastrophe Factor

Probability of catastrophic loss, based on the total number of catastrophes in a state over a 40-year period.

Catastrophe Reinsurance

Reinsurance (insurance for insurers) for catastrophic losses. The insurance industry is able to absorb the multibillion dollar losses caused by natural and man-made disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks because losses are spread among thousands of companies including catastrophe reinsurers who operate on a global basis. Insurers' ability and willingness to sell insurance fluctuates with the availability and cost of catastrophe reinsurance.

Cell Phone Insurance

Separate insurance provided to cover cell phones for damage or theft.  Policies are often sold with the cell phones themselves.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

The federal agency that runs the Medicare program.

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Certificate of Insurance

The formal document received by an employee that describes the specific benefits covered by the policyholder's group health care contract with the insurance company. The certificate contains copayment and/or deductible requirements, specific coverage details, exclusions and the responsibilities of both the certificate holder and the insurance company.

Chartered Financial Consultant

A professional designation given by The American College to financial services professionals who complete courses in financial planning.

Chartered Life Underwriter

A professional designation by The American College for those who pass business examinations on insurance, investments, and taxation, and have life insurance planning experience.

Chartered Property/ Casualty Underwriter/ CPCU

A professional designation given by the American Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters. National examinations and three years of work experience are required.


A request by an insured for payment under the terms of an insurance policy.


The person or party making a formal request for payment of benefits due under the terms of an insurance contract.

Claims-Made Policy

A form of insurance that pays claims presented to the insurer during the term of the policy or within a specific term after its expiration. It limits liability insurers' exposure to unknown future liabilities.

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The grouping, for underwriting, rating or other purposes, of policyholders or properties having the same general characteristics. Your insurance rate would be changed if you were reclassified.

Closed panel

A type of health plan that requires enrollees to seek care from a medical provider who is either employed by or under contract to the health maintenance organization or limited service health organization.


Short for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. A federal law under which group health plans sponsored by employers with 20 or more employees must offer continuation of coverage to employees who leave their jobs and their dependents. In this coverage the employee must pay the entire premium. The coverage can be extended up to 18 months and with this type of coverage surviving dependents can receive longer coverage.

Cognitive impairment

A deficiency in your short-term or long-term memory, orientation as to person, place and time, deductive or abstract reasoning, or judgment as it relates to safety awareness.


A provision in insurance policies that requires the insured to share in the cost of covered services on a percentage basis. A typical coinsurance arrangement is 80% by the insurer and 20% by the insured. In property insurance, requires the policyholder to carry insurance equal to a specified percentage of the value of property to receive full payment on a loss. For health insurance, it is a percentage of each claim above the deductible paid by the policyholder.


Property that is offered to secure a loan or other credit and that becomes subject to seizure on default. (Also called security.)

Collateral Source Rule

Bars the introduction of information that indicates a person has been compensated or reimbursed by a source other than the defendant in civil actions related to negligence or other liability.

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An optional auto insurance coverage that pays for damage to the policyholder's car caused by its collision with another vehicle or object.

Commercial General Liability Insurance

A broad commercial policy that covers all liability exposures of a business that are not specifically excluded. Coverage includes product liability, completed operations, premises and operations, and independent contractors.

Commercial Lines

Products designed for and bought by businesses. Among the major coverages are boiler and machinery, business interruption, commercial auto, comprehensive general liability, directors and officers liability, fire and allied lines, inland marine, medical malpractice liability, product liability, professional liability, surety and fidelity, and workers compensation.

Commercial Multiple Peril Policy

Package policy that includes property, boiler and machinery, crime, and general liability coverages.

Commercial Paper

Short-term, unsecured, and usually discounted promissory note issued by commercial firms and financial companies often to finance current business. Commercial paper, which is rated by debt rating agencies, is sold through dealers or directly placed with an investor.


Fee paid to an agent or insurance salesperson as a percentage of the policy premium. The percentage varies widely depending on coverage, the insurer, and the marketing methods.

Community Based Residential Facility

These facilities are licensed, registered, or certified by the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS).  CBRFs are covered only if your policy identifies these facilities as a covered benefit and the facility has been licensed as a CBRF by DHFS.

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Community Rating Laws

Enacted in several states on health insurance policies. Insurers are required to accept all applicants for coverage and charge all applicants the same premium for the same coverage regardless of age or health. Premiums are based on the rate determined by the geographic region's health and demographic profile.

Competitive State Fund

A facility established by a state to sell workers compensation in competition with private insurers.


Completed Operations Coverage

Pays for bodily injury or property damage caused by a completed project or job. Protects a business that sells a service against liability claims.

Comprehensive Coverage or Other than Collision

An optional auto insurance coverage that pays for damage to the policyholder's car for losses caused by fire, theft, vandalism, falling objects and various other perils. Damage from striking a deer is a relatively frequent accident in Wisconsin. Most policies cover hitting an animal under comprehensive, not collision, insurance.

Compulsory Auto Insurance

The minimum amount of auto liability insurance that meets a state‚Äôs legal requirements.  In compulsory liability states this proof, which is usually in the form of an insurance policy, is required before you can legally drive a car.


Provisions of an insurance policy that state the rights and duties of the insured or the insurance company. Typical conditions have to do with such things as the insured's duties in the event of loss, cancellation provisions, and the rights of the insurer.

Contingent Liability

Liability of individuals, corporations, or partnerships for accidents caused by people other than employees for whose acts or omissions the corporations or partnerships are responsible.

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Contingent Non-forfeiture or Contingent Benefit upon Lapse

In a long-term care insurance policy, if you reject the mandatory offer of a non-forfeiture benefit, the insurance company must provide a "contingent benefit upon lapse." This means that when the premiums increase to a certain level (based on a table of increase provided to you in the policy information), the benefit will take effect. You will then be offered, within 120 days of the due date of the new premium, the opportunity to accept one of the following options: 1) reduce your benefits provided by the current policy so that your premium will stay the same, or 2) convert your policy to a paid-up status with a shorter benefit period.


The formal legal document, also known as the "policy" that describes the agreement between the policyholder and the insurance company. This document contains the specific responsibilities of the policyholder and the insurance company in relation to the benefits provided under the contract.

Coordinated Care Plan

Any form of Medicare Advantage plan that relies on a provider network to deliver care to enrollees, including HMOs and other managed care plans. Most coordinated care plans will make you pay for all or part of the cost of using a provider who is not part of their network.

Coordination of Benefits Clause

A provision in a group health insurance policy that applies when a person is covered under more than one group medical program. It requires the payment of benefits to be coordinated by all insurance companies who cover that person in order to eliminate over-insurance or duplication of benefits.


A provision in insurance policies that requires the insured to pay a flat fee for certain medical expenses.


Coverage of services that meet the plan requirements for reimbursement.  A medical service is not necessarily covered, even if your health care provider says you need it, unless the service meets the terms of the health plan.

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Credit Insurance

Commercial coverage against losses resulting from the failure of business debtors to pay their obligation to the insured, usually due to insolvency.

Credit Life Insurance

Life insurance coverage on a borrower designed to repay the balance of a loan in the event the borrower dies before the loan is repaid. It may also include disablement and can be offered as an option in connection with credit cards and auto loans.


Credit Score

The number produced by an analysis of an individual's credit history. Credit history is routinely reviewed by insurers before issuing a commercial policy because businesses in poor financial condition tend to cut back on safety which can lead to more accidents and more claims. Auto and home insurers may use information in a credit history to produce an insurance score. Insurance scores may be used in underwriting and rating insurance policies.

Creditable Coverage

Previous health coverage that reduces the time you have to wait before preexisting health conditions are covered by a policy you buy during your Medigap open enrollment period.

Crime Insurance

Term referring to property coverage for the perils of burglary, theft and robbery.

Crop-Hail Insurance

Protection against damage to growing crops from hail, fire, or lightning provided by the private market. By contrast, multiple peril crop insurance covers a wider range of yield-reducing conditions, such as drought and insect infestation, and is subsidized by the federal government.

Custodial Care

The level of care required to assist an individual in the activities of daily living. This care helps meet personal needs and can be provided by persons without professional licenses or extensive training.

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